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means of our national salvation; and that it is the first and most imperious duty of ministers to endeavour to open a negociation with France. It is useless to say the French Emperor is not disposed to listen to honourable terms of peace : till we make the trial, and so long as we persist, as we have hitherto done, in refusing to negoeiate, the guilt of the war rests upou Britain, and we may be asşured that suitable punishment, the retributive justice of heaven on corrupt, proud, incorrigible nations, will be our doom.
PARLIAMENTARY PROCEEDINGS. Subsidy to the Portuguese.--The distresses of the Portuguese, in consequence of the ravages of the French retreating army, have excited the attention of our legislative bodies, and of our merchants, Compassion for the unfortunate, is a godlike virtue, and the grand ornament of humanity; but whilst exercising this virtue, it is the incumbent duty of every man to be careful that he is not imposed upon by specious language, and that under the pretence of relieving individual distress, he is not encouraging a system, which in the course of the past twenty years, has doubled the number of our paupers, and has brought incalculable calamities on this country, and on the major part of the states on the continent. . That there is an absolute necessity for cautioning our countrymer is evident from the language used by ministers and their bireling writers in our daily prints. Not content with appealing to public benevolence, on the ground of compassion to the unfortunate, every method is taken to represent the proposed aid to the Portuguese in a political point of view; and the grant of parliameat as well as private subscriptions, are considered as stamping approba. tion on the plans of ministers adopted in Portugal and Spain, and of course as an encouragement to them to persevere in a system, which no retreat of the French can prove to be, froin the com. mencement of the contest to the present moment, or at least from the period of the termination of Sir John Moore's unfortunate cam. paign, any other than a wanton waste of the blood and resources of the British nation. What is still more disgusting, hypocrisy unites with the love of war in representing the proposed grant to the Portuguese, an act so meritorious in the sight of God,'as to cover our national sins, and render us the favourites of Heaven. Mr. Perceval introduced his motion for a grant of one hundred thousand pouvds to the suffering Portuguese by a pompous speech, in which he enlarged on the wisdom of ministers, that is, of hinself and his colleagues, and on the great magnanimity, fidelity and liberality of the British nation: be trusted that her conduct ou this occasion,
w would shew in a decided manner the advantages of British con“ nection, compared with French connection.” But the views of the minister were not limited to the effects this act of vational generosity might produce in Portugal and Spain : no; his mind was full of the deliverance of Europe. “Its effects," he added, “ will “ operate generally throughout Europe, and throughout the world. “ But in addition to this,” adds this saint-like statesman, “ we have " to look to a still higher motive. It will mark our gratitude to “ the superintending Providence of the great giver of victories, " who has permitted the spirited valour of our armies to accomplish “ such brilliant achievements, and in whose sight an act of this “ nature may prove not unacceptable, and may procure to us @: “ continuance of his countenance and support! All these objects," that is all these political and religious considerations " combined, “ought certainly to operate upon us in the strongest manner, “ It will be difficult indeed to resist the united current of so many “ motives.” The house testified their approbation of this politicos religious farrago, by their cheerings. But what must the evangelical Mr. Wilberforce have thought of this legal, pharisaical, filthy rag righteousness of his right hon, friend who had so often been the object of his warmest panegyrick? In describing the piety of the minister we have used a scripture phrase which has been too often most improperly applied to that sincere and genuine righteousness of a good man, of great price in the sight of God; but whicha phrase is employed by the Jewish prophet, to represent the abhorrence of the Almighty of the pretended piety of a people who, in church and state, seem to have been the grand type of the British nation at the present period; who whilst they were boasting of their being the favourites of heaven, vaunting to others—I am holier than thou, were all as an unclean thing, their righteousnesses as filthy rags, the whole community a body corrupt, full of wounds, bruises, and putrifying sores, their hands full of blood, their pational church a compound of hypocrisy and superstition, in which even divine ordinances were prostituted to delude the people to their rụin, and whose iniquitous course, reprobated in the most energetic language of inspiration, finally drew down the most awful judgments of the Almighty.*
The hirelings of ministers echo, and re-echo the language of their employers, and carefully inculcate the sentiment, that a subscription for the Portuguese is to be interpreted, as approving the system on which ministers have conducted the war, more particu. larly in Spain and Portugal. Thus the Morning Post represents the matter. “ We have more than once assisted Portugal when
See Isaiah, Chap. I. throughout, and Chap. LXIV. 6, 7.
Every minuty of point of the on
* threatened, or invaded by a foe; now every feeling which * prompted us at any of those periods, unites in calling upon us
for speedy and effectual succour. By what we have already done “ for Portugal, by our counsels and our arms, we have made her " the fastest friend whom we possess ; we have demonstrated and « displayed, not only to her, but to every people of Europe the “ value of our friendship, the steadiness and fidelity with which “ we can maintain an expensive and hazardous alliance. Were we
to rest bere, it may be hoped and belived, that the magnanimity “ of our policy towards Portugal, and our warlike exertions, would " be acknowledged with gratitude, and its substantial wisdom “ proved by the effect upon other nations ; but to the rulers of « the state, to our generals and soldiers these praises belong;" Now, mark reader, the grand inference.—" Let every individual “ make himself a party to this policy, by answering the call of “ the distressed inhabitants of Portugal! and every man may thus « make himself worthy of the thanks, which Portugal,” (that is the Regency of Portugal) “ has lavished upon Great Britain. « Every mite contributed in this great and good cause will add « to our security, which we derive from the rising character of
our national policy, from the new success of our warlike efforts, « and from the diminished strength and confidence of our enemy. « There is we know public spirit and good sense enough in the “ conntry to make these motives sufficient for the patriot; but it “ rarely happens that they are so closely and palpably united, as w they now are with every duty of the christian, and every feeling “ of the man. Every individual in this favoured island who has a “ single shilling at his disposal,” (we may just observe by the by, there are not many individuals, who have shillings, or any species of silver or gold at lris disposal) “ may at once bestow it in a mode « consistent with the warmest sentiments of liis heart, and the " purest doctrines of his religion ; while he is contributing, in a “ manner as certain as it is simple, to the highest political interests * of his country, her security, and her honour.“ - On reading such compositions of hypocrisy and delusion united, in which common sense, reason and religion are equally outraged, from men who with their relatives are fattening on the spoils of an insulted, injured, and sinking nation, and from their birelings who are well known to write on opposite sides, in proportion to the wages paid for their prostituted serviceses--On reading from day to day such compositions, we are ready to exclaim with Dr. YOUNG
" There's scarce a day but to the man of thought ..
The subscription of individuals in favour of the Portuguese has something more of the appearance of benevolence than the prating professions of statesmen whose liberality chiefly consists in voting away the money of the people, which they are not very unwilling to do on any, or on all occasions; but we confess when we read the names of several of the committee-men, and principal suba scribers, we cannot give persons of such a complexion any great credit for disinterested benevolence ? Disinterested benevolence from those who publicly set up the hellish war whoop when they received intelligence of one of the most unfortunate events, that could possibly take place for the welfare of the country, and the cause of humanity--the rupture of the negociation during the administration of Lord Grenville! These humane, benevolent patriots, were delighted at the prospect of contioued and wide spread ing war and desolation, as it proprised tbeni increasing gains in commerce, insurances, licences, &c. Disinterested benevolence from those who so long feasied themselves on the blood of the unhappy Africans, and who firmly grasped the infernal traffic 'till they were compelled by the legislature to let go their hold! No: men of these descriptions we firmly believe enter thoroughly into the views of ministers and their tools, and that their principal motive for subscribing on the present occasion is, that the war may be prolonged, and extended, and thereby their own selfish and nefarious views may be promoted, although at the unavoidable espence of calamities much more extensive than those intended to be, alleviated.
Far be it from us to insinuate that these reflections apply to all the subscribers; the motives of many are doubtless good; but we cannot help expressing our concern that such men do not separate themselves from those of other descriptions ; that they do not preface their subscriptions by a public declaration, that compassion for the unfortunate is their sole motive, and that they by no means consider their acts of benevolence as an expression of approbation of the principle or the conduct of the war. By such a declaration they would have prevented themselves from being mingled and confounded with the inass of the servile supporters of administration, and described by Mr. Perceval and the Editor of the Morning Post, as approving the whole principle and conduct of the war, and thereby, it is much to be feared, causing their “ good to be evil spoken of," and rendering it instrumental to the ruin of their country, and the destruction of the human race.
So far indeed from having the most distant wish of circumscribing the exertions of benevolence, we earnestly wish them to be less partial, and more general, and disinterested. Why does not the present snbscription include the Portuguese who suffered by
the ravages of the British army iu their retreat during the last campaign? What pleasure would it not have afforded us to have beheld subscriptions entered into for the wives and families of the massacred citizens of Copenbagen, or for repairing the ruins occasioned by the conflagration of that city, and of similar ruins occasioned by the conflagration at Flushing, which, however, constituted the peculiar glory of that exhibition of benevolence, of our patriotic and christian statesmen-The Walcheren Expedition! Why are there so few of our public men of any party, or description, to be found assisting those persons suffering under vindictive ex officio informations,--some of whom it is to be feared, may prove martyrs to the cause,—not of falsehood but of TRUTH; and to that invaluable right of Britons-A FREE PRESS ! But it is in vain to search for exertions of pure and patriotic benevolence amongst the lovers of war, and the supporters of that system which in its practice and consequences enfeebles and deadens the best feelings of the human heart.
Inquiry respecting Informations Er-Officio.---Lord Folkstone's important motion on this subject, although it related to one of the dearest rights of Britons, was treated with the same neglect in the Commons as it was in the Lords, not only by the ministerial members, bnt by the leaders of op position : it was rejected by a majority of 119 to 36. Neither Mr. Ponsonby, nor Mr. Tierney, thought it worth while to attend : and there being so few members present on the opposition side, proves that however punctual their attendance, and active their exertions on party questions, they are indifferent to those points the most interesting to the best friends of the constitution.- Lord Folkstone mentioned various instances, which he judged to be gross abuses of the power vested in the Attorney General; and of partiality in its exercise. He particularly instanced the scandalous libel on all the princes of the blood, lately inserted in the Courier, which indeed exceeds in atrocity every libel which has been punished during the present reign; but the paper was a ministerial one, and no notice was taken! The motion was by the Attorney General deemed superfluous, as he assured the house (although he did not deny that it was in his power to ruin any innocent man,) there is no danger to be apprehended of any abuse of power on his part, as no one could be more forbearing or lenient, in public prosecutions than himself!-Sir S. Romilly expressed his surprise, « that his learned friend, as the subject had been started, instead of eva“ ding, did not court inquiry !"-On this subject our readers will find an excellent letter in our following pages.
The members of the House of Commons, will doubtless in their debates respecting the finances pay proper attention to the Report which has been published respecting the Austrian Finances. The Clergy may likewise take a hint from the Report respecting the fate which most assuredly awaits thern In this country, should the present system continge much longer !